Sometimes you can take tenebrism too far. But then again, depending on the judges, you could win a prize.
Franz Xaver Palko won the prize for this neo-Mannerist “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” as a student at the Academy in Vienna in 1745. Nice beginning of a career that led to painting palaces and cathedrals and influencing painters in the territories of 18th century Austria.
But why so dark? It looks like the action is set in a cellar rather than a tent. I expect to see barrels of wine or ale in the background, as if they were hiding under a tavern. And why are the figures contorted into unnatural positions? I can forgive Holofernes since the decapitation probably created some contortion in horror and excruciating pain. But why does Judith look like she is climbing into a chariot sideways? And the maid – poor thing is bent and twisted and totally in the dark.
Oh yea, for a moment I forgot he was a Mannerist.
Of course, we do not know the other entries in this competition. Maybe he won because the other paintings looked like this: